We may leave our children with them every day, but do we actually respect them?
A new survey released Wednesday by the Varkey Gems Foundation -- a group that seeks to improve education for underprivileged youth -- looked at how citizens around the world view the social standing of teachers.
The study, which surveyed thousands of respondents from 21 countries, aimed to determine, in part: Where are teachers respected?
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The results were mixed. While in some countries like China and South Korea, teachers are viewed in high esteem, in places like Israel, a majority of respondents said they did not trust teachers to deliver quality education to students. The United States, however, fell squarely in the middle, with most respondents indicating they thought teachers were paid too much. In addition, American survey respondents held primary school teachers in higher regard than secondary school teachers.
The writers of the survey advocate a worldwide elevation of the status of teachers -– a sentiment we can get behind.
“If we want future generations to have the right values and the best life chances … we need to recruit the best and brightest teachers into the profession, and look at the ways in which we can retain them,” Sunny Varkey, the chairman of the foundation, writes in the survey forward.
Varkey also pointedly says that teachers should be held in the same regard as widely respected professionals like doctors -– a feat only China accomplished, according to the survey.
The results come just days before World Teachers’ Day on Oct. 5, a day dedicated to celebrating educators. From the looks of the survey, it seems like a day many countries direly need to recognize.
Below, we have replicated the Varkey Gems Foundation’s teacher status rankings:
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United KingdomGetty Images
United States of AmericaGetty Images
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<strong>91 percent</strong> of teachers buy basic school supplies for their students.
<strong>2 in 3</strong> teachers <strong>(67%)</strong> purchase food or snacks to satisfy the basic nutritional needs of their students -- even ones who are already enrolled in their schools' free or reduced-price meal program.
<strong>1 in 3</strong> teachers purchase clothing for children, including jackets, hats and gloves <strong>(30%)</strong> or shoes and shoe laces <strong>(15%)</strong>.
<strong>18 percent</strong> of teachers purchase personal care items, such as toothbrushes and sanitary products.
Nearly <strong>1 in 3</strong> teachers <strong>(29%)</strong> purchase items such as toilet paper and soap that their school cannot provide enough of due to budget cuts.
<strong>More than half</strong> of all teachers have paid the costs of field trips for students who couldn't afford to participate otherwise.
<strong>Several teachers</strong> reported purchasing alarm clocks for students. Due to work schedules or family circumstances, guardians were unable to wake their children for school, which led to absences and academic underperformance.